From the Archives: Letter to President Bush on Afghan Victims, February 14, 2002

February 14th, 2002

Dear President Bush,

As close family members of those who were killed on September 11, we know what it is like to lose loved ones at the hand of violence. Although we continue to grieve, our pain has been eased by the outpouring of love, compassion and generosity our families have received from our government, fellow Americans, and people all over the world. We are writing to you out of concern that there are innocent families in Afghanistan who were affected by the US military campaign and who are not receiving the attention offered to our families although their need is great.

We would like to extend the spirit of compassion and understanding to those families of Afghanistan. We believe that this is an important way that we can illustrate to the people of Afghanistan and the people of the world that Americans are a caring and generous people. We are eager to help in the fight against terrorism by promoting this spirit of compassion and understanding.

Several of us have recently traveled to Afghanistan and met with Afghan families that were accidentally affected by the US military campaign. We talked with widows who were forced to send their children to beg, families who could not afford to rebuild their homes destroyed by US bombs, children who lost limbs to cluster bombs, and visited children so traumatized by the bombing of their neighborhoods that they had stopped talking. The families we met with were grateful for the US help in overthrowing the Taliban, know that the US did not intend to harm them, and believe that the United States is their friend. Many of these families also believe that the US will provide some compensation to help them to rebuild their homes, get the medical care they need and enable them to contribute to the revitalization of a democratic Afghanistan. We would like to turn that belief into a reality.

A number of us have met with congress people about setting up an Afghan victims fund to determine the extent of civilian deaths and harm from the US military campaign and to provide relief to those innocent families affected. We are happy to report that we received widespread support for this idea and that many congress people advised us to speak directly with you about setting up this fund.

We are requesting a meeting with you to discuss the Afghan Victims Fund. We believe that such a fund is a way that we can honor our lost loved ones by promoting goodwill and understanding throughout the world. We are enthusiastic about working with you on this significant step towards a peaceful and terror-free world.

Sincerely,

September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Filed in: Voices of Peaceful Tomorrows

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